Ireland introduces minimum alcohol pricing in bid to stop booze being sold for 'pocket money'

Alcohol stock Credit: PA Archive/PA Images

Minimum unit alcohol pricing comes into effect in Ireland from Tuesday.

The controversial measure sees Ireland become one of only a small number of countries worldwide to introduce a legal floor price for the cost of alcoholic drinks.

The minimum unit price of 10 cents per gram of alcohol is provided under the Public Health (Alcohol) Act 2018.

The move has been welcomed by Health Minister Stephen Donnelly.

He said: “Today Ireland joins a small number of countries in the world to introduce minimum pricing.

“This measure is designed to reduce serious illness and death from alcohol consumption and to reduce the pressure on our health services from alcohol related conditions.

“It worked in Scotland and I look forward to it working here.”

Junior Health Minister Frankie Feighan said: “We are taking this action to ensure that cheap strong alcohol is not available to children and young people at ‘pocket money’ prices and to help those who drink to harmful levels to reduce their intake.

“I am proud that Ireland is among the first countries in the world to introduce this measure and to take real action to help those who need it the most.”

The move is expected to impact more on alcohol sold in supermarkets and off licences, rather than pubs, restaurants and night clubs.

It will mean an average bottle of wine cannot be sold for under €7.40 (£6.20), while a can of beer will cost at least €1.70 (£1.42).

Spirits will see the biggest jump in price, with vodka and gin set to cost a minimum of €20.70 (£17.32), while whiskey will rise to at least €22 (£18.41).

Ireland has joined the likes of Scotland, Wales, the Russian Federation and parts of Australia and Canada introducing the move.

Scotland was the first in Europe to introduce it in 2018, followed by Wales in 2020.